Norwegian naval officials don’t think they’ll be able to raise the wreckage of the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad until after the Christmas holidays, because of what they call “demanding weather conditions.” Salvage crews did manage, however, to remove the frigate’s missiles this week.
Newspaper Bergens Tidende reported that the weather was good until Monday afternoon, when all diving operations and work to secure the frigate were halted. The missiles could be removed from the frigate’s deck on Tuesday but raising the mostly sunken frigate is described as “a demanding and complex maritime operation” with several factors that can alter the salvage schedule.
Project leader Arild Øydegard told newspaper Bergensavisen that the weather, the vessel’s stability and the risk of pollution are among factors that can force interruptions in the salvage operation. Concerns have also been expressed that the vessel can slide into deeper water, making it even more difficult to raise it and transport it to the Haakonsvern naval base in Bergen. The navy has stated that the frigate’s movements are being constantly monitored by remote-controlled underwater robots.
The frigate collided with a fully laden tanker during the dark early morning hours of November 8, with evidence mounting that the frigate’s crew made several navigational errors. The state accident investigation board released a preliminary report last week of factors leading up to the collision that also suggests human error, but which subsequently has been criticized as being too vague and downplaying the role of the crew on the bridge of the frigate.